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February 3, 2008 AM

MT 13:18,19

INTRO: When Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the sower in Matthew's gospel, He referred to the seed as "the word of the kingdom". Luke, of course, referred to it as the "word of God" (Lk 8:11). Obviously, both aptly describe the scriptures. But the expression "word of the kingdom" has within it a special significance ... at least, it does to me. Indeed, each of the Biblical expressions describing the scriptures has a special significance. So, what the scriptures provide us is the information we need to have relative to the kingdom of God. This is information of which we need to be informed, aware. It is information upon which we may be called to act!

    1. About the anticipated coming of the kingdom of God
      1. for hundreds of years of Jewish history there was anticipation
      2. Mt 3:2 - this was the message of John the Baptist - "at hand"
      3. Mk 1:14,15 - this was the message of Jesus - "at hand"
      4. Mk 9:1 - "at hand" indeed meant soon!
    2. About its having come
      1. remember that Jesus said it would "come with power" (Mk 9:1)
      2. Lk 24:49 with Acts 1:8 - power would come in Jerusalem with Holy Spirit
      3. Acts 2:4 - here was the birthday and place of the kingdom of God!
      4. Col 1:13 - it's here! no longer future ... and we can be in it!
    3. About its King
      1. Jno 18:37 - Jesus, the Son of God, is its King
      2. 1 Tim 6:15 - note that Jesus is not just any king ... He is King of kings!
      3. Mt 28:18 - He is the absolute Monarch - the only Potentate
      4. Phil 2:9-11 - but it is so important that you bow your knee to Him in this life - to bow your knee before Him at the judgment will be too late for you!
    4. About its law
      1. every kingdom must have its law - and this kingdom is no exception
      2. think about Mt 28:18-20 - "all things....I have commanded you"
      3. earlier I mentioned bending our knees to Him - and observing the law of the kingdom is one critical way in which we do so
      4. 2 Cor 5:9 - the only way to be accepted of Him is to be obedient to law!
    5. About its nature
      1. undoubtedly, people had expected an earthly kingdom like David's
      2. and there are those who today say he'll return to earth to set up His throne and kingdom
      3. but note Jno 18:36 - it is not a kingdom similar to those of the world
      4. national boundaries have no meaning to this kingdom ... it extends across all such boundaries ... so, it's possible to have "dual citizenship"
    6. About its citizenship
      1. Phil 3:20 - "our citizenship is in heaven"
      2. Phil 4:3 - the roll of citizenship!
      3. thus, all human beings are not citizens - Rev 13:8"names ... not written"
      4. Rev 20:15 - having ones name on this roll is beyond important
    7. About becoming a citizen
      1. Jno 3:3,5 - entering the kingdom of God requires this new birth
      2. Rom 6:4 - explains the new life is given in baptism
      3. so, while belief, repentance, confession are all and each necessary prerequisites, baptism is the point and place in time one is granted citizenship
      4. Acts 2:38,41,47 - notice the "adding" which took place ... added to what? to the church - to the kingdom of God
    8. About life as a citizen of the kingdom
      1. Col 1:9,10 - knowledge of His will translated into walking worthy
      2. knowledge of citizen life comes from the New Testament
      3. so, one must seek to increase in this knowledge in order to be pleasing
      4. it is fair to say that life as a citizen of the kingdom is "regulated"!!
    1. 1 Cor 15:24 - Ultimately, the kingdom of God is returned to the Father
      1. there is no future reign of Christ on earth
      2. He is reigning as King now!
    2. So, will you be among the citizens when the kingdom is returned to God?
      1. will you name be found written in the book of life?
      2. if you have not entered it by the prescribed requirements for citizenship (baptism predicated upon faith and penitence), your name will not be found
      3. recall with me Rev 20:15
      4. what do you need to do, then, relative to your citizenship?

CLOSE: What are your plans for the future? Do your plans include heaven? If so, what are you doing about those plans?

Cecil A. Hutson

27 January 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)